Watermelon – Cirtullis lanatus

Watermelons
Watermelons

…Watermelons are juicy, sweet and pink
Spit your seeds into the sink…

by Tammy White

 

This member of the Cucurbitaceae family has been around for so long the origins are unclear, but it is thought to have come from southern Africa. Some evidence is found among the hieroglyphics on Egyptian tomb walls, where the cultivation was documented. Seeds were found in Tutankhamun, the boy Pharaoh’s tomb.

 

By the 10th century AD they were cultivated in Chine, and by the 13th century the Moors had brought them to Europe. The first appearance of the term “watermelon” appears to have been in a 1615 dictionary.

 

Watermelons are considered both fruit and vegetable. In China it is stir-fried, stewed or pickled. The juice can be made into wine. In fact if someone was believed to be demon possessed in ancient Egypt a blend of watermelon juice and wine was administered to relieve the symptoms!

Here in the US the sweet, watery flesh is eaten most frequently, although in the South Watermelon rind pickles are popular. In some parts of the world the seeds are also consumed.

 

Although it is obviously diuretic (don’t eat it just before bed or you will be up all night long), it is also Cardiac, Demulcent, Enuresis, Febrifuge, Pectoral, Purgative, Tonic, and a Vermifuge. Due to citrulline found in the rind, it may also function much like Viagra, and may increase sexual desire.

 

As of 2007, Oklahoma passed a bill declaring the watermelon the state fruit!

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